Architecture; IKEA Want to Builds District in London
IKEA is going from the insite out
Will the new era of architecture be the era of IKEA urbanism. Ikea is now next to the interior going for the exterior, and announced to build a complete neighbourhood in Stratford, East London, just outside the Olympic park where the Olympics taken place in 2012. The Swedish furniture giant tries to implement its ideas and concepts in new fields of knowledge and urbanism. After the introdutcion of furniture and the introduction of the IKEA standard house by daughter company BoKlok, it seems to be time for a new era. Ikea has put a plan on the table for a complete neighbourhood in East London. LandProp — also part of the IKEA group — is planning to build all of the 1,200 houses, shops, cafés and a 350-room hotel.
The whole 26 acres site near the Olympic Park in Stratford will be surrounded by two waterways and will have water as a central concept. London’s brand new ‘mini-Venice’ will offer all all opportunities to residents to make the most of their waterside location by using the moorings, water taxi service, and even a floating cocktail bar. The whole building operation should start in 2013 after permission is given.
Harald Müller, business development manager at Inter IKEA, does think that the new building near a real hotspot in London will be. “Not to be arrogant, but this will certainly be a popular place among residents of London.” “The aim is to create a friendly neighbourhood idyll, with courtyards and a public square to encourage interaction, and the unsightly aspects of life will be kept to a minimum. Cars will be parked underground and rubbish will be discreetly disposed of through underground tunnels. A school, health surgery and nursery will be built to minimise inconvenient travel.”
Yes, a simple and affordable family product in a design jacket, as we could expect from the world’s largest furniture retailer. The people who buy it might love it and also London Mayor Boris Johnson is enthusiast. Apart from the Westfield Shopping Mall this is the second largest private investment rippling out of the 2012 Olympic legacy in Stratford, the other one is the Westfield Shopping mall.
But can IKEA do the same to urbanism as what it did to interior design? Is it able to create neighbourhoods that are as comfortable, affordable, good-looking and popular with the majority as its furniture? On the other hand, we may can say that ‘one-size-fits-all urbanism’ will not be good for the variety and attractiveness of cities in general. Of IKEA can make the difference, perhaps it can, with its design skills as well as its capacity to organize big areas, as IKEA did to its shops, they almost turned into complete villages themselves they are already nearly there.
Story by: Gabriëlle Voogt